How To Improve Shooting Accuracy In Mid-Season
Tip #1: Follow the Money
In law enforcement, an effective method to solve a crime is to “follow the money”. With shooting, an equally effective method to determine WHY players struggle with accuracy is to “follow the fingers”. The fingers on the shooting hand tell a story. Their position at the point of release provides a big clue to explain what happened. We call this EVIDENCE and it’s what you can use to solve the mystery of what causes shots to miss. Here are some common examples:
The index and middle fingers or middle and 4th finger angle in or out. This means the fingers moved across the ball instead of in a vertical plane. Expect more Left/Right misses when this happens.
Fingers 4 & 5 are further down and angle in This means the ball was off-balance due to “thumbing” by the off-hand or the shooting hand was off to one side and not directly behind the ball .Expect more Left/Right misses when this happens.
While visiting Tubby Smith’s practice at the University of Minnesota this past week, Tubby’s son, Saul, commented about the importance of making the shooting hand fingers move in a vertical plane. As we watched layers around the gym, it was very easy to determine those that did and didn’t. But diagnosing the problem does NOT solve it. It’s all about getting the athlete to buy into making a change and then providing a REMEDY that makes sense to them.
How to REMEDY these bad habits:
Tape the index and Middle fingers just below the knuckles with a 3/8th wide strip of tape obtained by ripping white ankle-tape lengthwise. Have your entire team tape their fingers for two weeks and have them hold their follow-through long enough to check the position of the Two Shooting Fingers after each shot. Just calling attention to something is often enough motivation to make changes.
Tip #2: The Importance of STANCE
Early in the season I like to visit as many schools as possible to watch practice. The first thing I look for is the stance of those who 1) have the ball and 2) those who position themselves to receive the ball. The ideal stance is an “athletic position” – body bent substancially at the knees and hips. The advantage this gives the athlete is twofold – balance and power. The affects of both is absolutely ESSENTIAL in scoring success – either by creating a numbers advantage by exploding past a defender (5 on 4) or with a shot that is attempted with excellent body control. It is really quite amazing that such a simple fundamental has such a dramatic affect on offensive success. And yet, as important as it is, it is so often overlooked.
Question: Why is POOR STANCE so prevelant in the game?
Answer: What we permit we permote!
Stance Awareness drill. Whenever someone is NOT in a good athletic stance either with the ball or when positioning to receive the ball perform the following:
Everyone moves around the gym in an “athletic position” for 30 seconds. The next time it happens, perform it for 45 seconds; the third time, 1 minute. Remind your players they are improving their ability to score.